HICKORY, N.C. – A layup with 27 seconds left in overtime by Lenoir-Rhyne’s Caroline Laughter enabled the host Bears to squeak past Pfeiffer University in the 2011 women’s basketball season opener Friday night in the Shuford Gym. Pfeiffer erased a 10-point halftime deficit in the defeat with Brittany Cox draining a game-high 30 points while Christina Harvey posted a double-double with 22 points and 10 boards in the loss.
At the end of regulation, Pfeiffer held a 71-67 lead with just nine seconds left before Lenoir-Rhyne scored the four points needed to force extra basketball. Laughter hit a crucial three-pointer with two ticks left before a Lady Falcon turnover and foul with one second left sent Cameron Sealey to the free throw line. After missing the first attempt, Sealey hit the second for a 71-71 score at the end of 40 minutes.
Going back and forth in the extra period, a pair of Shelley Reese free throws and triple by Cox put Pfeiffer up 80-77 with 1:48 remaining. Two consecutive layups by Laughter turned the score in favor of the Bears 81-80. After a pair of missed free throws by the Lady Falcons, Whitley Culler would knock down three of her final four free throw attempts to help seal the deal.
Along with Sealey, Jazmine Charles came up with a team-high 19 points to lead the Bears. Sealey added 11 boards for the double-double while Culler finished with 15 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. In addition to Cox’s 30 and Harvey’s 22, Reese also finished in double-digits for Pfeiffer dropping in a dozen. Both teams shot over 40% from the floor and 68% from the charity stripe while Lenoir-Rhyne dominated the glass 55-39.
The Lady Falcons will be back in action on Saturday afternoon taking on Mars Hill in the final game of the 2011 Lenoir-Rhyne Invitational. Pfeiffer will host Anderson in their home opener on Tuesday night.